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Diabetes and the dangers of pregnancy.

Diabetes and the dangers of pregnancy

Insulin-dependent diabetic women with high blood sugar levels have an increased chance of miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to new research. "There is a risk of losing a pregnancy associated with maternal diabetes. It appears that the risk can be eliminated by achieving good metabolic control," says James L. Mills at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md.

Mills, Joe Leigh Simpson at Northwestern University in Chicago and colleagues from a multicenter research team studied 386 diabetic women who required insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels and 432 non-diabetic controls. All women entered the study either before or within 21 days of conception. The researchers found that diabetic women who kept their blood glucose levels within a normal range had no greater risk of spontaneous abortion than controls. But for women with poor control, the threat of pregnancy loss rose as their blood sugar levels increased. The researchers report their findings in the Dec. 22 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.

"Diabetic women must be made aware that the time to prevent birth defects and spontaneous abortion is before conception, and contraceptive advice should be offered so that every pregnancy can be planned in advance," says Donald R. Coustan at Brown University in Providence, R.I., in an editorial accompanying the research report.

Achieving metabolic control of diabetes isn't always easy. "It's really more complicated than just taking insulin," Miller says. He recomends that diabetic women visit their doctors before pregnancy so that diet, exercise, and insulin can be coordinated to bring glucose into a normal range.
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Author:Fackelmann, Kathy A.
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 24, 1988
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